When thinking and discussing sound on a regular basis, be it for a conference, a church installation, installing a system in a boutique hotel or upgrading the sound of an current (but outdated) installation — one can’t help but think about what these guys (and ladies) heard when creating what I characterize as the “foundation of sound.”
What did Miles hear when he played Kind of Blue or even Bitches Brew? One being smooth and icy and the latter being dramatic and free! And John Coltrane with that delicious tenor saxophone. Go and listen to Giant Steps and envelope yourself in the sound of the saxophone. It’s incredible.
Let’s take the trumpet, for example. The trumpet generally takes the lead in the “front line.” The sound of the trumpet is BOLD, STRONG and AGGRESSIVE...kind of like the sounds of Miles Davis, and Louis Armstrong. I really like discussing the sound of Miles Davis because his sound was so unorganized. However, he could play quietly, and smoothly and he could also play aggressively. Seriously, though…what did these great musicians hear? What do we hear when we listen to Jazz?
I also think the saxophone produces an amazing sound! Love the alto sax and tenor sax (that of John Coltrane). Well, he actually played tenor, soprano and alto sax. When I listen to Trane, I hear a lot of improvisation, fast playing, but it’s with authority. It’s with power! What an awesome sound.
The piano is also a very versatile instrument. I think of Duke Ellington and the Swing Jazz Era and I want to boogie or Lindy Hop, then I think of Dave Brubeck and his Cool Jazz (Era) sound and I want to relax. The piano commented in the background in a lot of Jazz tunes; listen carefully to Naima and you can hear it commenting.
We must not discount the beautiful sound of the human voice produced by SO many Jazz soloist(s). Ella Fitzgerald, with her clear, lucid, unmatched sound, Alice Coltrane, with her spiritual sound, and Billie Holiday, who had a sort of jazzy but pop kind of sound...in my opinion. A little. Nonetheless, her sound influenced Jazz greatly.
Music is the art of sound and there are so many wonderfully, talented Jazz musicians…then and now. They all contributed (some are STILL contributing) to that wonderful sound of Jazz:
1. Herbie Hancock
2. Chic Corea
3. Pat Matheny
4. Charles Mingus
5. Thelonius Monk
6. Jelly Roll Morton
7. Horace Silver
8. Sonny Rollins
9. Paul Desmond
10 Wynton Marsalis*
* The sound or era of Wynton Marsalis is that of Neo Classical. Jazz has gone through several era’s…Early, Swing, BeeBop, Cool, HardBop, Fusion and Neo Classical. In his music, it is his attempt to “return Jazz to it’s acoustical roots.” His sound is amazing!
I love sound.
From the Audiophiliac